Surtex observations

One of the great advantages of taking several years to grasp the English language as a young girl in the Midlands was having to rely on body language for clues if I was particularly perplexed by a conversation. I feel I can still read body language well despite now having a great command of English. I'm going somewhere with this...indulge me.

Having followed many many artists online for several years, then finding myself physically in their presence in New York / Surtex was quite a revelation. No amount of !!!! or ; ) or :P on FB or IG can compare with seeing the glittery lipstick, glasses, accents or tone of voice of various artists and clients that I met during my 4 days at the Javits Center.

I need a better filter...!

I need a better filter...!

Firstly meeting my agent Brenda Manley for the very first time, watching her discuss her artists work with potential clients or just interact with anyone was a absolute joy. She was just so enthusiastic, vivacious and friendly in her approach. These pics where taken at Brenda's booth ...

on set up day sorting out postcards for swag bags with Emma Schonenberg and Andrea Strongwater

on set up day sorting out postcards for swag bags with Emma Schonenberg and Andrea Strongwater

Brenda with Tatyana Starikova Harris and Andrea Strongwater

Brenda with Tatyana Starikova Harris and Andrea Strongwater

Below we have myself with Emma Schonenberg (check out her amazing doodles on Instagram) and Victoria Johnson at her booth where I helped out a few days.

Again I've known Victoria on-line for a few years and is was such a delight to meet her in person. She was extremely knowledgeable, generous and has a great sense of humour. I was also pleased to meet her agent Jennifer Nelson who was very charming and enthusiastic.

Back in the days when I used to meet and talk to editorial art directors I soon learnt how to converse earnestly about my work - there would be much charm offensive in a very short space of time. Standing in Victoria's booth watching potential customers approach felt the same - timing and mindset were important. If their eyes lingered for more than 3 seconds with their bodies turned towards her booth (not just their heads) I was quick to say a cheery Hello ( in my most British accent) and offer them a postcard or seat.

There were two other occasions when I COULD NOT conceal my delight. The first was seeing my Christmas notecard set on Studio Oh booth at the National Stationary Show. It turned out their designer followed me on IG and was just lovely. When she let me handle the notecards I think I actually danced a little jig on the spot, I was just so excited. I think my jig made quite an impression on them.

The other high light was meeting Nate and Salli the dynamic duo behind They Draw and Cook and They Draw and Travel . Both of them have been so very supportive of my art and I feel they understand my journey since they art artists themselves. It was wonderful to talk to Salli and Nate on so many levels, and very honored they came over for a chat.

I didn't want this post to read as a who's who of artists I'd met at Surtex. Rather I wanted to share my experience of walking and talking with fellow artists and Brenda and how it created a palpable positive mood. I feel confident I can take my art to the next level and very much hope all the amazing & talented artists who exhibited and those whom I met felt the same too.

In today's age with various technological tools for communication its easy to forget about something simple like eye contact. Sometimes emails ( if you can find the right address) may not convey as much empathy or trust needed in a good working relationship. For me connecting with everyone I had the good fortune to meet with during Surtex was a real honor and was grateful to have been in that position.

Este Macleod was a fabulous room mate for the duration of my stay on New York (Union City) here with the rather wonderful Gabriella Buckingham.

Above are the terrific trio that make up the Happy Happy Collective, Tammie Bennett, Emily Balsley and Jill Howorth in front of their terrific booth.

Two of the nicest people you could hope to meet Susan Brand and Claire Lordon who has just signed a great children's book deal

These cheerful ladies are long time on- line friends, quirky Rachael Schafer and Jo Chambers.


Goals Book & Beyond

Last year I eagerly read almost every blog post I could find about artists experience of Surtex, whether the exhibiting or 'walking' the show. I was lucky that my friend Jacqui posted a photo of herself and other artists we knew at Victoria Johnson's booth. This image really sparked my imagination, and I made up my mind I NEEDED to attend in 2015.

So I pasted that image into my goals book, along with 'I am overjoyed to walk Surtex with my friends' - see below

I am now onto my third goals book. I use a sketch book to fill in a goal on each page with any relevant images. Its based on personal,career, health, relationships and spiritual goals. Some of them have changed from year to year but fundamentally my goals remain the same.

The theory goes if you phrase a statement with 'Iam......' and are able to visualize and imagine the fulfillment of this goal, your subconscious brain (and creative mind) will somehow figure out a way of making it come to fruition. It may take a while and involves the right effort but it would be worth it.

At the very beginning of this year I created another goals book- here's one of the pages.

A day later I asked Victoria Johnson Design if she would consider my help at her 2015 Surtex booth. I was so grateful and happy she said yes. Then the creative part of my brain again whirred into action to figure out the practicalities of such a trip.

Another page of my 2015 goals book says 'I am seeing golden opportunities everywhere'

In March a friend suggested I show some of my art to her agent Brenda Manley . I had not considered finding a licensing agent as major goal for this year. After manly emails and questions Brenda came across as persistent, positive, knowledgeable and very easy to communicate with. I was re-assured that any editorial, packaging and advertising commissions would be dealt with by myself. I was more than satisfied by her manner and approach so I am delighted to announce I have an agent who will also be at Surtex !!

Exhibiting at Surtex in 2015 was not a goal...but this opportunity came up and it was great timing. The last 6 weeks have been a steep learning curve, but an exciting one with Brenda to give me direction and advice.

It may take a while for some of my other goals to present themselves but I am open to all possibilities, as long as I stay determined and committed. In the near future I hope to qualify as PADI wreck diver or underwater photographer.